Fifty-two times a year Hesperia resident Kelly Moon drives across the Main Street bridge and down Amargosa Road to her daughter's grave at Desert View Memorial Park.

"I try to make it look pretty," Moon said as she arranged artificial flowers around her daughter Julie Kaye Moon's headstone. "This is what I do every Tuesday."

The mother's weekly treks have special meaning as the June 3 anniversary of her daughter's unexpected death is just days away. Julie, a Hesperia High graduate who was pursuing a nursing degree at Victor Valley College, and a friend were killed in 2002 when they were struck by a fast-moving vehicle while turning onto Mariposa Road.
While Moon knows she can't turn back the clock, she believes her daughter's death can have a special, positive purpose today.

Last year, a developer planning a commercial project near the accident site agreed to build a special memorial in honor of Julie and other area youngsters who have lost their lives. But the economic downturn forced the developer to halt the project.

So Julie's story will have to speak.

"Parents and their kids need to watch out," she said.

Julie Moon's death has left a void not only in her mother's life but in the lives of many family members and friends.

"She dreams about Julie," Moon's daughter-in-law Rena Moon said about her 4-year-old daughter Kelsey during last week's cemetery visit. "She says she wishes she were here. I dream about her too. Julie says to take care of her mom and dad."

Not far from Julie Moon's grave are those of other young adults killed in car accidents, serving their country in the Middle East, or from an unexpected violent act such as a shooting. As a result, the Moon family has become friends with other survivors.

"We know what they're feeling," said Maricela Salmeron of Victorville whose son Anthony Salmeron was shot to death last year after picking up a friend at a party in Adelanto. "It's amazing how many people are losing their children."

Her husband Tony Salmeron agrees.

"We all have something in common here. You see their pain. You get to know them."

Like Kelly Moon, the Salmerons, who visit their son's grave every day, are grappling with the meaning of his death.

"You'll never understand," Tony Salmeron said. "It can happen to anybody, poor or rich, anybody."

But one thing he has learned: "Without faith you have nothing."

For his wife, the pain can seem almost unbearable.

"You walk around with this heavy weight," she said. "All I want to do is hold him and hug him."

While the deaths of Anthony Salmeron, Julie Moon and others may have been beyond their control, the survivors agree that young adults - and those graduating from high school and college this month - should do what they can to avoid dangerous situations.

"Now is the best time to be cautious," Kelly Moon said, "and have a future."